Valley of the Dead: Santa Cruz

How to connect to the history of the Grateful Dead without a ticket.
Here are the places where history happened.
Bronze cast of Garcia's right hand at the Grateful Dead Archive Photograph by Nick Veronin

Grateful Dead Archive

McHenry Library, UC Santa Cruz

The University of California Santa Cruz has been entrusted with the massive task of presiding over the official Grateful Dead archive. In addition to thousands upon thousands of articles—setlists, correspondence, artwork and images—the McHenry Library has a large exhibit that gives visitors a taste of the archive as a whole. It includes a Ph.D. dissertation written on the band's devoted followers—"Deadheads As A Moral Community"—as well as a bronze cast of Garcia's right hand. He lost a portion of his right middle finger in a woodcutting accident as a child.

Ken Kesey's Cabin

La Honda Road

If you take a short drive from Alice's Restaurant on Skyline Boulevard, down a winding stretch of Highway 84 through the Santa Cruz Mountains, you'll come upon a wooden bridge crossing La Honda Creek, just past the intersection of Pescadero and La Honda roads. On the other side of that bridge lies the sleepy cabin that blew so many minds. Kesey's La Honda cabin was the site of many an Acid Test. Here is the site written about so vividly by Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Wolfe—the former home base of the Merry Pranksters and the school bus named "Further." Garcia and Co. also played here, serving as Kesey's house band when they were The Warlocks and later the Grateful Dead.

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